Villagers repair ‘controversial’ road

From Our Correspondent

 JOWAI: Over 800 villagers from Khanduli, Umplu, Umshangiar and Lapangap villages in Jaintia Hills district joined hands to repair the unattended Khanduli-Lapangap-Borato PWD road on Thursday.

Villagers repaired around 23 km stretch of the road till Lapangap village.

The Khanduli-Lapangap route is a ‘controversial PWD road’ as both Assam and Meghalaya Governments tried to improve the road had several times but due to objections raised by both the States and also by residents of the border villages, the road has been left unattended for years.

The village secretary, Iarap Dkhar and former Rangbah Shnong, Molin Ramut said that the road is repaired every year by the villagers considering its importance to the farmers of the area.

Almost all villagers in the area are farmers. Gingers, maizes and rice are their main production besides other vegetation.

“The road will not only help us to transport our produces but assist residents of many villages reach their destination early”, said Ramut adding that many people lost their lives as they could not reach the nearest health centre on time due to the poor condition of the road.

The villagers said that Assam government had by force repaired and improved the road several times despite strong protest from them.

Meghalaya PWD had also tried to repair the stretch. However, due to opposition from Assam the work could not be carried out.

“The road is within our village (Khanduli) and the village in under Meghalaya. So how can we allow Assam government to repair the road,” asked Ramut. Villagers informed that in the past, whenever the villagers organised such road repair drives, the Assam Police personnel stopped them.

“They might come tomorrow or day after”, said a village elder.

Further a villager informed that on many occasions whenever the road has been repaired by local villagers, Assam PWD officials would come after a day or two with a motive to improve the repaired road.

Meanwhile, the former Rangbah Shnong said that despite repeated requests made to the State Government to improve the road, the village is still awaiting proper response from the State.

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